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Why Educate Women? Global Perspectives on Equal Opportunity





  • Deborah Abiola Ahove '11, Biology & Sociology
    Exploring how women have “overturned” issues of male dominance within legal/political sectors of low-income countries and the extent to which advanced education connects women to positions of power and responsibility within the public and private sectors.

  • Susan C. Bourque, Government, Organizing Fellow
    This project will allow me to pursue the central questions about gender and social change that have been the subject of my research and scholarly writing over the past four decades. The project's global focus will allow me to expand work begun in Latin America and our focus on women's education will provide a new lens for assessing policy and practice.

  • Rosetta Marantz Cohen, Education & Child Study, Organizing Fellow
    I am looking at the struggles of women teachers, both historically, in the U.S., and comparatively, in contemporary developing countries.

  • Laurie Fenlason, Public Affairs
    Examining evolving arguments for women’s colleges, comparing rationales for women’s education in various cultural contexts, and considering the specific "deliverables," such as leadership or science literacy, that women’s colleges say they provide.

  • Chi Gao '11, Biochemistry
    Analyzing the psychological and societal impact of single-sex education on performance in mathematics in high schools in the U.S. and China.

  • Gwen Gethner '11, History
    Investigating the education of American women during the First World War, and especially examining the Smith College World War One Relief Unit using the resources in the College Archives.

  • Patricia Gonzalez, Spanish & Portuguese
    Exploring the education of women in Latin America and especially the education in convents in Mexico, using Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695) as an intellectual model of women’s education in Mexico.

  • Ella Hartenian '11, Environmental Biology & Sustainable Development
    Examining the role of women in environmental development programs, specifically how environmental and development indicators change based on the presence or absence of targets directed at women in local and regional communities.

  • Nicholas Horton, Mathematics & Statistics
    Assessing whether single-sex education, particularly at the college level, is associated with improvements in education for women, particularly in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

  • Susannah Howe, Design Clinic Director, Engineering
    Two complementary projects: 1) Evaluating qualitative data from the 2009-2010 middle school engineering clubs in Franklin County, one co-ed and one just for girls, to assess the extent to which participating students understand and apply the engineering design process and to consider whether boys and girls approach engineering design projects differently. 2) Coordinating a multi-institutional (and ideally international) project that would allow women college students to participate in a joint engineering design project in 2011-2012.

  • Juliana Jackson '11, Medieval Studies and English Language & Literature
    I will be looking at the reasons why medieval women were educated at home by tutors or family members as opposed to at convents. I am particularly interested in how they were expected to use their education in theory and how they actually used them in practice.

  • Suleiman Mourad, Religion
    Studying a group of medieval women who were active in the study and transmission of Hadith (the sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, which form the foundation of Islamic Law) and who lived in the region that is now Afghanistan and eastern Iran, to investigate how they achieved professional renown, the extent various factors (e.g., religion, history, culture, society, ethnicity) played in this, and how the example of these women can inform our understanding of the religious undertones surrounding the education of Muslim women in modern times.

  • Samra Nadeem '11, Economics
    Examining the factors involved in justifying the education of women or the lack thereof in South Asia and especially in countries such as Pakistan.

  • Darcy Rendon '11, American Studies & Spanish
    Investigating cultural attitudes towards women’s education in Mexico during the 20th century and the influence of government-sponsored U.S feminist organizations on those attitudes.

  • Christine Shelton, Exercise & Sport Studies
    Investigating cultural attitudes towards women’s education in Mexico during the 20th century and the influence of government-sponsored U.S feminist organizations on those attitudes.

  • Patricia Skarda, English Language & Literature
    Researching early rationales for the education of women in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century and comparing them with contemporary rationales for educating women around the world today.

  • Tes Slominski, Ethnomusicology
    Expanding on my previous work on music, gender, and nationalism in early 20th-century Ireland, I will focus on fiddler Teresa Halpin’s Teagosc-Leabhar na Bheidhlíne, the first bilingual Irish-English instructional book for the violin. My research will explore the musical and political aims behind the book’s publication, as well as its effects on traditional and classical music pedagogy in Ireland.

  • Cristine Smith, Center for International Education (UMass)
    Examining the difference literacy skills and practice make in the lives of women and girls in South Asia, especially to identify how newly literate girls and women make changes in their knowledge, attitudes and actions after completing non-formal literacy programs.

  • Janie Vanpée, French Studies
    Weaving together three projects/interests around the general topic of women’s education—a research project on the historical debates around women’s education in France; the development of a course on women’s education in France and its relationship to concepts of citizenship and national identity, with a focus on contemporary problems; reflecting on how the new Global Studies Center might best collaborate with Women’s Education Worldwide.

  • Tina Wildhagen, Sociology
    Investigating the gender gap in college attendance in the United States, examining factors influencing the increase in the numbers of women in college undergraduate populations, particularly looking at the gender gap between social classes and racial/ethnic groups by analyzing nationally representative, longitudinal data from the high school classes of 1972, 1992, and 2002.

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